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- Patient Comments: Compartment Syndrome - Symptoms
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- Patient Comments: Compartment Syndrome - Complications
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- Compartment syndrome facts
- What is compartment syndrome?
- What causes compartment syndrome?
- What are the risk factors for compartment syndrome?
- What are the symptoms and signs of compartment syndrome?
- When should I seek medical care for compartment syndrome?
- How is compartment syndrome diagnosed?
- What is the treatment for compartment syndrome?
- Surgery (fasciotomy)
- What are the complications of compartment syndrome?
- What is the prognosis for compartment syndrome?
What are the complications of compartment syndrome?
Left unrecognized or untreated, the complications of acute compartment syndrome are irreversible. As swelling increases and muscle loses its blood supply, cells eventually die and muscle necrosis occurs. Complications include:
- muscle scarring, contracture and loss of function of the limb;
- permanent nerve damage; and/or
- rhabdomyolysis (muscle breakdown) and kidney damage.
Complications due to chronic or exercise induced compartment syndrome are rare but may include any of the above, especially if the person requires surgery to alleviate the chronic condition.
What is the prognosis for compartment syndrome?
Acute compartment syndrome is a potentially devastating condition. Return of normal function and minimizing injury depends upon quick recognition of the situation and prompt surgical fasciotomy to resolve the increased pressure. The longer the delay to surgery, the more potential for permanent loss of muscle and nerve function. The prognosis for chronic compartment syndrome is usually excellent.
Medically reviewed by Aimee V. HachigianGould, MD; American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Bucholz RW, et.al., Rockwood and Green's Fracture in Adults. 6th ed. United States; Lippincott, Williams and Wilkins, 2006
eMedicine.com. Compartment Syndrome, Exremity; Mulitmedia.
National Institutes of Health. Compartment Syndrome.